Monday, 28 January 2013

Translating Medical Terminology

I just wanted to mention a new reference book I purchased the other day which I've found really helpful. It's called "Understanding Medical Terms", written by "Ralph Rickards" (link here) to buy on Google (I don't get any referral fee). There are actually quite a few similar books, but this has been my favorite since buying it, and in just a few hours I've seemingly doubled my ability to read medical terms. I use it to check all kinds of things.

It's actually a very short book, running to only 106 pages, with sparse and large text. It gives basic rules for constructing medical terms and is bound to be helpful for translators. Here's an example, "pluer-, cost" are given to mean "relating to the ribs", so we can now guess what "intercostal muscles" are. Each chapter gives a few common roots for Greek and Latin terms like "The Body", "The respiratory System", "Cells" and so on. Each chapter gives about 20 roots which you can then combine to make thousands of different words. "Otorhinolaryngology" for example is just "Oto" - ear, "rhino" nose, "laryn" throat", "ology" -study - Ear, nose and throat! Just learning a few terms like that suddenly seems to unlock a lot of medical terms. Definitely worth getting if you ever come across medical terminology in your work or life.

It struck me when I was reading it, how much easier it is to read medical reports in Chinese. In Chinese the word for intercostal as an adjective is just 肋骨间 (ribs-space), meaning "between the ribs" which is actually the same thing the word means in English except we use costal instead of rib. Would it hurt for medicine to do a round of simplification and replace some of the old roots with the modern word. I know "Interribal" sounds a bit funny at first, but we could soon get used to it.






6 comments:

Chinese to English translation Malaysia said...
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medical terminology classes said...
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revision for anatomy and physiology said...
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australian writing service said...

If this kind of stuff can get translated then I don't know what else do we need to save lives. This is a huge step indeed and hoping to see more progress soon.